Letter to the Editor – Social Distancing Cat

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Dear Editor,

During the summer, when all was quiet due to COVID, we encountered a cat that carried “social distancing” a bit too far. Sometime around June 8-9, a black cat was stuck in our old maple tree. His howling got our attention. We tried coaxing it down without wearing masks, but the cat insisted on maintaining a two-metre distance. We tried offering food, to no avail. We built a ramp for it to climb down, with a treat at the bottom of the ramp. No luck. The cat remained up there.

The next day, we put up a sign for the owners in hopes they would pass by with all the other COVID walkers. We tried to befriend it with some water and a different treat, but it maintained the two-metre distance. We called the cat sanctuary, the vet, the local radio station, to post a PSA about a lost cat on their Facebook page, researched tips on Google, but nothing worked. Still the cat remained up there.

The following day, someone left a different kind of cat treat, but it was gobbled up by another “creature of the night”. A neighbour across the street in the upstairs apartment tried to coax it down with a laser light. Alas, the black cat was not in a playful mood and would not chase the red spot. It was a hot topic at Geronimo’s Coffee Shop. Still the cat remained up there.

By about Day 5, the cat was not eating or drinking, and the night temperatures were in the single digits. So, we contacted the Fire Department. (Hey, you never know!) Luckily, things over there were quiet, they had a new employee in need of training with extending the ladder on the fire truck, and, more importantly, a sympathetic cat lover who took our request.

Unbelievably, they never had a request like this before…it only happens in the movies. The North Grenville Fire Service came to the house and managed to get the huge truck into our driveway (an amazing feat in itself). Once the ladder was extended, and with everyone wearing masks, a firefighter even climbed the tree trying to befriend the poor cat. The black cat was having none of this and climbed even higher to maintain the social distance.

Finally, after almost an entire week up there, our next-door neighbour told me the owner of black cat had dropped by early on Sunday morning, and was able to get the cat down in a couple of minutes. The cat had found its “social bubble” at last, and was carried safely home.

J.A. Doxey

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